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  • Writer's pictureDuff Bangs

Going Paperless

As 2023 comes to a close and we start fresh into 2024, I have been reviewing past and future goals for the modFORM practice.  One of these goals is working towards a more sustainable architecture practice.  But what does this mean?  We can look at sustainability as an approach of how we design a building but we can also look at sustainability as a way we operate an architecture practice. 

The former we will look at closer in a later blog post.  The latter will be the subject of this post. 

So what are ways the modFORM practices sustainability? 

One, modFORM has a small footprint (small office ) which uses very minimal resources as far as water, electricity and other utilities. But, what are some other areas we can look at reducing? One o the biggest items we as architects can look at reducing is paper usage.


Paper has been one item resources architects have used quite extensively throughout the decades. It makes sense, architects in general print drawings onto paper which can then be shared with others.


But can an architecture firm be completely paperless?

 Well, this is what I am striving for with the modFORM practice.

Here are a few ways I have either completely removed the need for paper or significantly reduced the need for paper.



With all the following items, technology has significantly helped with reducing the need for paper.  Then with the era of COVID showing that many people and businesses can work from a digital platform, the has allowed most to to transition into a paperless option.

With the modFORM practice, I meet a majority of my clients remotely using programs such as Zoom or Google Meet.  When I share drawings withy clients, this is typically way of digital PDF format or jpeg.

Then, I am able to use apps such as Bluebeam to make digital redlines while I share drawings through a screen share.  Other tech that help in this process are touchscreens such as an iPad or a Microsoft Surface where I can again share my screen and sketch ideas with my clients.



Not too long ago, when submitting drawings for a building permit, building departments required that large format (24"x36") paper copies be submitted.  Again, with technology, building departments have allowed people to submit drawings digitally via email or an online portal.

Not only has this allowed us to reduce paper but this has also reduced time and money.  In general, to print one set of drawings at 24x36 format can cost upwards of $100 per set.  Submitting digitally is free!



Similar to the building department, many other trades such as structural engineers and civil engineers have also moved to digital formats.  Again, this significantly speeds up the process as drawings can be sent via email.  Before, drawings would need to be sent to a printing company, then be picked up, then physically delivered to another office.



Most companies have a paperless option.  I strive to go paperless with all companies I work with.  This not only reduces paper but, it also helps me to organize all files digitally.



An important part of an architect's morning (or all day) routine is coffee.  I opt to purchase coffee from a local coffee shop to allows me to use a reusable mug versus using paper cups. 


But still, the modFORM practice is not 100% paper free. On the rare occasion, a permitting jurisdiction or consultants may need or require a paper copy of drawings.  In these rare instances, digital drawings can be sent to a local print shop where a physical copy can be printed.


These are just a few options that the modFORM practice has used to reduce the need for paper.  If you have other thoughts or ways you have reduced paper in your business or life in general, please feel free to share.

Thanks for reading!

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